“Garbage Pail Kids” artist Jay Lynch passed away on March 5 at the age of 72, as reported Sunday by the New York Times. His cousin, Valerie Snowden, told the outlet that lung cancer was the cause.
A key figure in the underground comix movement, Lynch sought to make serious comics by depicting the darker sides of life, including sex, drugs, and violence. Along with fellow cartoonist Skip Williamson, Lynch launched “Bijou Funnies,” which helped kick off underground comix. The magazine, styled after the satirical “MAD,” featured work from Lynch, Williamson, Art Spiegelman, Robert Crumb and other figures seminal to the movement.
“Nard n’ Pat” is one of Lynch’s most notable underground comix. The story follows Nard, a balding, middle-aged conservative man, and Pat, his talking cat. Lynch resurrected his characters in 2015 for “Mineshaft,” an independent art magazine that counts Robert Crumb among its contributors.
While never getting as famous as others in the underground comix movement, not everything Lynch did was obscure. He worked for the Topps trading card company making “Bazooka Joe” comics, and Lynch’s most famous work is likely his contributions to the “Garbage Pail Kids” trading cards, a satire of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. Originally launched in 1985 by “Maus” creator Art Spiegelman, “Garbage Pail Kids” played with the cutesy style of the Cabbage Patch Kids, deforming them and rendering them disgusting. The names of these children often heavily relied on wordplay, like Roy Bot, Blasted Billy and Stoned Sean. The series was immensely popular, with a movie based on it releasing in 1987 and multiple subsequent revivals of the franchise.
An avid archivist of the history of underground comics, Lynch donated his entire collection of letters, art, comics, and fan magazines to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University in April 2016. The collection, which includes early work from many of underground comix’s most prominent artists, will continue asserting the importance of the art movement he helped found even after his passing.